V. I.   Lenin


To:   A. A. JOFFE

Published: First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Sent to Berlin. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 44, pages 98b-99a.
Translated: Clemens Dutt
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

2/VI. 1918

Comrade Joffe,

Sokolnikov and Bukharin are to make a trip to you, and Larin, too, I believe.[1] I take this opportunity to give you a little warning. I am sitting at a meeting with the “travellers” (without Larin). I hear talk about “Joffe transferring the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs to Berlin”.

The friction between you and Chicherin is sometimes used—unconsciously rather than consciously—as a means towards intensifying this friction.

I am confident that you will be on your guard and will not allow this friction to grow. I have read attentively your letters and I am absolutely convinced that this friction is unimportant (there is chaos everywhere, carelessness everywhere—in all commissariats—and this evil is slow to cure). Given patience and persistence the friction will be smoothed over. Chicherin is a splendid worker. Your line is quite faithful to the Brest treaty, you are already successful, I think—and hence it follows that we shall easily smooth away the friction.

If the German traders will accept economic advantages, realising that nothing is to be got from us by war, for we shall burn everything—then your policy will continue to be successful. We can give the Germans raw materials. In important cases, send me copies of your exact demands. Arrange for a direct line as quickly as possible.

Bukharin acts in good faith, but he is up to the neck in “Left stupidness”. Sokolnikov has gone astray again.   Larin is a floundering intellectual, a first-class bungler. Therefore be extremely on your guard with all these most charming, most admirable delegates. Sokolnikov is a very valuable worker, but sometimes (as just now) something “comes over him” and he “breaks china” because of paradoxes. If you do not take precautions, he will break china there with you. And Bukharin—triply so. Prenez garde!

I hope that Krasin and Hanecki, being business-like people, will help you and the whole matter will be smoothed out.

Thank you for the “supplement” to your letter. I await some more.

Best regards,


N.B.: Among the Russian Bolsheviks taken prisoner by Germany (Zivilgefangene) was Popov of Brussels, taken in Belgium: Could you find him and take him into our service?

P.P.S. Try to send this enclosure to Switzerland by messenger—but not by post.[2]


[1] Sokolnikov, Bukharin and Larin went to Berlin as members of the Soviet delegation to negotiate an economic agreement with Germany.

[2] Evidently this refers to Lenin’s letter of June 2, 1918, to J. A. Berzin or G. L. Shklovsky (see Collected Works, Fifth Ed., Vol. 50, Document 165).

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